Power and partnership

Power and Partnerships

Explores the complex relationships and power dynamics that come with partnership working

An overview

Power and partnerships is about how people connect with each other in a Change Network.  The principles of power and partnerships are closely connected to co-production, but describe more of the mechanisms involved in running a group or network to balance and share power, allowing for a healthy governance.

Power isn't easy to share for anyone, as it is entrenched in systems, organisations and cultures.  Understanding and disrupting the structures of power can be a transformative experience, but it can also be a challenge.

Click on the tabs below to learn more. 

Benefits

Power can come in different guises. People are assets and if all partners consider each other as assets, they can all benefit from a range of different knowledge and skills.

It is about doing something together, connecting. There are some essential principles needed for people to get involved but they can lead to greater results:

  • Values and ethics
  • Authenticity
  • Shared hope
  • Humility and self awareness

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Who knows best?

By working on a healthy governance and power of balance, we can go beyond the assumption that lived experience is an ‘other’ experience that doesn't affect everyone at some stage of their life. By nurturing the right relationship, co-production can go beyond simple ‘tick-boxing’ and challenge power structures. 

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Challenges

Some people are natural joiners, and by only engaging with ‘the usual suspects’ there may be a risk of excluding seldom-heard voices.

We need to open the door but also keep it open: Self stigma can be a barrier and make engagement and involvement a long process.

Power isn’t easy to share for anyone, as it is entrenched in systems, organisations and culture. Understanding and disrupting the structures of power can be a transformative experience, but is a challenge.

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Click on the tabs below for a few more tips about what works.

All on Board

It is important not to have a fixed view of people’s role before working together. It is key to go to people, encourage them, understand why they want/don’t want to get involved. Get everyone on board from the start.

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Allow Opt in and Out

Round the table meetings are not the only way to engage people. By acknowledging the barriers to participation and making changes to the way you invite participation, you will have more successful and meaningful partnerships.  If people understand it is okay to opt in and out that will help.

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Language and Accessibility

We believe that language is an important feature of power - by using jargon or language that is difficult to understand, people are excluded from conversation and action.

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Facilitation at all Levels

Facilitation to suit everyone supports effective partnership by bringing a structure for people to flourish in and to define their roles and styles. For example, provide mentoring, set deadlines and ground rules that apply to all.  

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Learn more about power and partnerships